NEIL Doncaster, the SPFL chief executive, has described the coronavirus crisis as “arguably the most challenging” period in Scottish football history and pledged that future decisions will be made “in the very best interests of the game as a whole”.

The prospect of Celtic being declared Ladbrokes Premiership champions and Hearts being relegated based on their league placings on Friday – when the SFA/SPFL Joint Response Group took the decision to suspend professional and grassroots football indefinitely – has angered many clubs and fans.

Stewart Robertson, the Rangers managing director, yesterday issued a statement warning that finishing a season with a “significant number of games to play” would “impact upon the integrity of sport in Scotland”.

The joint response group provided an update on the ongoing crisis yesterday and revealed that decisions on the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals next month and Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Israel at Hampden next week would be made following the UEFA conference call today.

The statement also contained a lengthy Q&A which addressed many of the concerns which their member clubs had raised with them – including the prospect of the leagues not being completed – and stressed that finishing the 2019/20 campaign in its entirety was their preferred option.

The statement read: “The joint response group is engaged in a contingency planning phase that will assess all possible options for the remaining season and beyond. It would be inappropriate and unhelpful to speculate on any future decisions to be taken by competition organisers.

“We will, however, commit to updating clubs, supporters and other key stakeholders when appropriate in this fast-moving landscape."

The statement continued: “The preference remains that season 2019/20 will be played to completion. However, Scottish football has been suspended until further notice and the joint response group will continue to discuss the developments regarding the virus on a daily basis.

“The Scottish FA will take guidance from governments, the UK Chief Medical Officers, the Scottish FA medical consultant, Dr John MacLean, and information provided by the World Health Organisation.

“The Scottish FA will only lift the suspension when it is deemed safe to do so from the perspective of public health, but also the safety of all stakeholders including supporters, players, match officials and staff.

“A UEFA conference call (involving all 55 associations, the European Clubs Association, the European Leagues and FIFPro, the world players’ union) will take place tomorrow.

"A decision on the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals and UEFA Nations League play-off against Israel will be made by the Scottish FA board after that conference call.”

Doncaster said: “The significant challenges being faced by people all over the country have put sport firmly in perspective. However, we have a responsibility to deal with the many difficult issues caused by this outbreak and are working hard with the Scottish FA, with our clubs, and with government departments to arrive at the best possible outcome for our game.

“We are very conscious of the desire of all 42 Ladbrokes SPFL clubs and their fans to know, as soon as possible, of our plans for the league, but everyone recognises we are facing what is arguably the most challenging time in our sport’s history.

“There are undoubtedly going to be further challenges ahead, but everyone involved is pulling together as one and we will continue to make decisions in the very best interests of the game as a whole.”

SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell said: “The focus of the Scottish FA remains the public health, the emergency services and the health and safety of players, match officials, and staff across the game.

“Many thousands of fans are looking forward to the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals and the UEFA Nations League play-off against Israel.

“We understand that they, and all fans of Scottish football, will want urgent clarity about those games. We expect to be in a position after tomorrow’s UEFA conference call, to make a further announcement.”

The Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup final, due to be played between Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Raith Rovers at McDiarmid Park on Saturday, March 28, has been postponed.